For eight months I took pictures of my grandmother at various events and made her a lovely picture book. Find out why she hates it!
A Universal Rule
I preface this by saying that dementia is a horrible disease that claims the lives of thousands of people each year. The actions taken by those who have become demented are not at fault. It can be hard to comprehend this, especially from an outside perspective. My grandmother is no exception to that rule.
We begin our daily stroll through the neighborhood per usual. The sun is shining, and I am recording. We were gently clomping along with the freshly paved asphalt under our feet when she stopped in her tracks.
“I am not sure I can hold out much longer, but I am not happy about the picture taking of Hazel getting married at the end of the year,
I am a bit confused as to what she is referring to at first. I press her for more details. She says…
That Stupid Thing
“If you were looking at that book it had a whole lot of houses…pictures that is stuff he took which is just stuff he took shooting his camera. I have no relation to him other than he is a co-worker. I
workedtwo or three years with him. He knows I’m not interested. Why did he? Why did it have to be printed? That stupid thing. And then I had a rising a lot of people…It made me upset because I know where and what I’m going to not, and not see it printed in paper. I could sue him! Make a case against him!”
Inside I was dying and wanted to tell her how much that book meant to me. There is no use in causing more pain and guilt now when she won’t remember again later. These are the final moments that she has left where she can still be human. She could have a year or months. The point is to treat every moment like it is precious.
Speeding through life with haste, anger, pettiness, and lust for materialism will get you nowhere. I only speak from experience. I feel my path in life lead me here for a reason. I am humbled by this opportunity to care for my grandmother in her end of life. She was always a sharp person, still the words — they still cut deep.
I know she no longer sees me as her grandson when we are on our walks around the neighborhood. Every time she needs an escape from the house, she needs to buddy up with me so she doesn’t get lost. Depending on my mood (Keep in mind I am Bipolar) she has a different character for each mood.
I thought the book that I made was something special. It contained pictures of her children, grandchildren, herself, and her garden. Oh! She was so excited the day it came. We were flipping through pages and laughing, enjoying it. I was excited to make a second one for the second half of the year.
The book is safe in my possession and I will treasure it. I had hoped she would get to enjoy it while her cognition allowed. Unfortunately, dementia is a cruel disease that twists and contorts reality into a nightmare.
Showing compassion, as difficult as it is, should be the number one priority. Failing is okay, but compassion and kindness should always be your goal. I try to instill this in myself when I wake up. Or, when she wakes me up.